The rapid expansion of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread calls for permanent adoption of key Medicare telehealth flexibilities that were authorized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Following last week's letter
from WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding to Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation supporting the extension of these key Medicare telehealth flexibilities, WHA this week again indicated support of these policies by signing on to two additional letters.
The first letter
from the Interstate Healthcare Collaborative to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma, echoed some of the points made by WHA in its June 25 letter: eliminating geographic and originating site restrictions to ensure all patients can access care at home and other appropriate locations; allowing CMS the flexibility to designate eligible telehealth providers; ensuring that federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics can continue to offer virtual services; and making permanent HHS’s temporary waiver authority during emergencies.
The second letter
, from a broad coalition of health care providers and associations, was sent to Congressional leaders on June 29, asking them to advance permanent telehealth reform. In addition to the changes indicated in the Interstate Collaborative letter, the coalition asked Congress to permit audio-only telehealth in some cases, clarify eligible telehealth technology such as smart phones, allow Medicare to reimburse telehealth at the same rate as in-person medical services, remove frequency of service limitations, and end the established patient requirement to permit new patients to receive telehealth services.
WHA will continue to lead the push throughout the state and country in advocating for telehealth reforms that make health care convenient and accessible to a broad range of patients. For more information on WHA’s work on telehealth, contact WHA Director of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter
or WHA Vice President of Policy Development Laura Rose